Heather Little-White, PhD, Contributor
This cooking method is great for the outdoors and summer is an ideal time to get out of the house and use up your gardens and backyards to barbecue and get neighbours, friends and families together. You could also make barbecuing a feature of a picnic by the river, beach, or in the hills. Cooking outdoors can be relaxing and easy as you can make side dishes ahead of time and barbecue large pieces of meat or food which are easier to manage. Jamaicans have tweaked barbecuing to jerking as the cooking technique is similar.
You can cook cleaner outdoors by barbecuing in foil and this gives you less headache as you know all the items are cooked at the same time and there is not much washing up. Foil parcels can be made the day before and refrigerated. Prepare your meats and other food items well-ahead of time.
You must have tools of the trade - a grill/barbecue, whether self-made or purchased. A large apron and oven mitts are required. Long-handled tongs and forks must be used to prevent splashes and burns.
Your barbecue surface should be hot before you place meat on it. The meat should sizzle to seal in the juices to make it succulent. Sear on both sides but do not turn too often, as the meat will be dry and tough. Beads of juice on the uncooked side are an indication that the meat is ready to turn.
Reduce heat after meat is sealed to prevent charring if you are going to cook beyond rare to medium or well-done.
Meat should be rested after cooking to allow the juices to settle. If you were to slice steak immediately after cooking, the juices will run out and the meat will become dry.
Marinating is a must for good-tasting barbecued foods. These provide three functions for the barbecued product - to tenderise, to add flavour and help infuse fat-free cuts of lean beef or chicken with enough liquid to help them brown without sticking. You can create your own marinade. Most marinades contain an acid - like lemon juice, vinegar or wine combined with herbs and spices. Marinades which contain honey tend to burn easily before the food is cooked. It is best to reduce the heat after sealing the meat.
This is useful for all meats. In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup dry red wine(your local wine is excellent); 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard; 1 crushed clove of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme.
Place meat or fish in marinade and allow to sit or at least three (3) hours.
The barbecue secret
The secret to any successful barbecue is the sauce. They come in all flavours, colours and types. It is much nicer when you make your own. A barbecue sauce should be thick enough to coat. There is a flavour that is great for BBQ ribs. This sauce helps you get there, whether you smoked your ribs low and slow for hours, or baked them in the oven.
Classic BBQ Ribs
1/4 cup onion, minced
2tbs olive oil
2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cloves garlic crushed
1tbs apple cider vinegar
1tbs tomato paste
1tbs Worcestershire sauce
11/2 tsp liquid smoke
1tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne
Fresh ground pepper to taste
4lb pork spare ribs
Preparation of sauce:
Blend onion and water into a puree.
Heat a medium sauce pan over a medium heat.
Add olive oil.
When oil is warm, pour in onion puree.
Simmer until slightly browned.
Add remaining ingredients.
Mix thoroughly and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Cook ribs until browned all over brushing with BBQ sauce throughout cooking.
Makes 2 cups
Preparing great ribs
Ribs are one of the best things to barbecue on the grill. Ribs, whether pork or beef, are basically a thin layer of tough meat stuck on bone. The fatty membranes can sometimes make meat too chewy to eat. The secret to great ribs is patience with lower heat, low and slow cooking.
Adapted from About.Com
Barbecue. Food Lover's Companion describes it as 1. Commonly referred to as a grill. 2) Food, (usually meat) that has been cooked using a barbecue method. 3) a term used in the United States for an informal style of informal entertaining where barbecued food is served (like July 4th celebrations); 4)a method of cooking meat, poultry or fish or other food is covered and slowly cooked in a pit or on a spit using hot coals or hardwood as a heat source.